Capitol Police chief to step down
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/08/21, 01:21 am
Never in his 30 years of law enforcement in Washington had Chief Steven Sund encountered a situation like Wednesday’s riots, the man in charge of the police who protect Congress said on Thursday. He resigned on Thursday amid criticism the Capitol Police were unprepared to handle the unruly mobs that invaded the building and forced lawmakers into an hourslong lockdown. Police shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was among a crowd that tried to push its way into the House of Representatives. Three other people died of medical emergencies during the riot. Authorities identified them as 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, of Athens, Ala.; 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland, of Kennesaw, Ga.; and 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips, of Ringtown, Pa. The Capitol Police in a statement confirmed that Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday from injuries he sustained while responding to the protests.
Did police do enough? Sund called the events unprecedented and said officers acted heroically under the circumstances. Once lawmakers, staffers, and members of the press had taken shelter, rioters roamed freely through the Capitol, some taking mocking selfies and others defacing and destroying property. Police eventually secured the building with the help of the National Guard.
What about the rioters? Police made some arrests during the unrest on Wednesday, but many of the agitators seen in widespread photos taken inside the Capitol remain at large. The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia said his office had prepared 15 federal criminal cases related to the unrest and planned to file more, including possible charges of sedition. Richard Barnett of Gravette, Ark., was photographed with his feet up on a desk in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “If you are a wicked attorney get in touch with me,” he told KFSM-TV of northwestern Arkansas. “I’m going to need one or two.”
Dig deeper: Read Joshua Raimundo’s report on what motivated Trump’s supporters in Washington on Wednesday.
Editor's note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.
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